The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, at the end of his 3-day tour of the Volta Region, cut the sod for the rehabilitation and expansion of the Kpong Left Bank Irrigation Project, at Torgome, in the North Tongu Constituency of the Volta Region.
With the country possessing 1.9 million hectares of irrigable land, only 210,000 hectare is suitably developed, representing a little over 11% of the total area which can be potentially irrigated.
That is why the Ghana Commercial Agricultural Project, in consultation with the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority (GIDA), has selected for rehabilitation and modernization the Kpong Left Bank Irrigation Project (KLBIP), together with four other major public irrigation schemes.
According to President Akufo-Addo, the Kpong Left Bank Irrigation Project will rehabilitate, modernize and expand the existing gravity irrigation scheme from four hundred and fifty (450) hectares to two thousand (2,000) hectares, i.e. more than four-fold.
On successful completion of the project, water made available by the modernized and expanded dam should increase food production through increased cropping intensity as a result of a more reliable supply of water.
This supply, the President said, will be directly available to 17 communities of a combined population of over 6,000 people, with some of the benefits to the neighbouring communities including increased earnings of smallholder farmers, through double-cropping under irrigated conditions, and the creation of jobs, in addition to the completion of various agri-businesses down the value-chain.
“Based on a comprehensive evaluation, nine (9) crops have been selected for cultivation under the scheme. These are rice, maize, soya bean, cowpea, pepper, okra, cabbage, watermelon, and butternut squash. The irrigated area will be cropped twice a year, resulting in a two hundred per cent (200%) cropping intensity, and a total cropped area of four thousand (4,000) hectares per annum”, he said.
To link small-holder farmers effectively to markets, the scheme will have provision for large farming enterprises with substantial technical, managerial and financial expertise and working capital.
“This Project will cost the Ghanaian taxpayer an estimated twenty–five million, five hundred and three thousand, two hundred and ninety-six dollars (USD25,503,296). It is expected that the operation, maintenance and management of the scheme will be financed by irrigation water users in the scheme, through regular payment of irrigation service charges”, President Akufo-Addo noted.
The President thanked all those who have been involved in one way or the other in the realization of this Project, and urged staff of the Ghana Irrigation Development Authority, Ghana Commercial Agriculture Project, the Consultant, the Contractor, the Chiefs and Elders and the members of the beneficiary communities to continue to play the roles expected of them to ensure that the project is completed on schedule.
“We are determined to transform Ghanaian agriculture, and break with the recent, dismal record of decline and negative growth that has characterized the sector. That way, we can justify the huge investments that Government is making in the Project”, he added.